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How to set up your team for success

Do you have a new team or are you starting a new project? Most teams rush straight into the work without having clear agreements in the beginning about where they are going or how they want to get there. The key ingredient for a successful project is clarity. If you want to set your team up for success, you should be clear about your project’s objectives and each team member’s role and responsibilities.

Don’t wait until you hit a bump in the road and then be forced to work out agreements in the midst of frustration and confusion. This is when conflict can arise in teams. Therefore, it’s important to clarify your expectations upfront to set up your team for success.

To lead a team effectively, you should try to establish rapport with each member. The most successful managers build their relationships on trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.

Here are a few ways to set your team up for success.

Start before your team does

The first thing you should do, before sitting down with your team, is to clarify your project’s objectives. This step, which is essential to successfully complete the project, is likely to be dictated by the client. Or if the project is an internal initiative, by your company’s management. It’s best to create a resource plan before starting the project. This plan should include details of the budget, hours needed for the project, the number of people included and the required skills necessary to tackle the work.

Many team members may work only part-time on the project, stealing time away from their regular responsibilities. If that’s the case, speak to their line-managers first before the project begins. That way you’ll have some understanding about what to expect from  each team member.

Clarify the roles and expectations

Try to reach out to each individual team member and nurture a relationship. Do this before the team’s first meeting. In doing so you’ll be aware of each member’s personality type and skill set. As a project manager, you should try to make the lives of your team members easier. While they are working on their individual tasks, you can clear obstacles from their path. Help them to meet deadlines, look for more resources or find more time to complete the project, if you must.

If your project involves both the business and technical side, make sure both share the same goals. Different agendas and opposite expectations often delay the progress of the project.

Set the right tone

You will play a big part in explaining the work tone of your team, especially at the beginning. You should talk to your team in a way that makes a positive impact. Remember that negativity can poison a team’s mood and effectiveness. Try to strive for an upbeat team spirit and an undivided team attitude. As the well known French author, Alexandre Dumas, said: “All for one and one for all.”

Having a sense of humour in a team is key. A fun environment can prevent a stressful situation. It’ll also help to get the most out of your team members. Instead of focusing on the problems why not turn your focus to the solutions? It can go a long way in maintaining a cheerful and positive atmosphere.

Foster the right behaviours

It’s important that you show your team how you expect them to work with your own good habits. As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words”. A lot of obstacles will arise and you should overcome them calmly and openly. That way your team will learn the right way to respond to difficulties. You should have a life outside work to maintain a sense of balance and calm. There will come times when you have to work overtime to support team members to meet stressful deadlines. You should do things the way you’d like your team to do it. Try to set an example.

Deal with individual team members

If problems arise, don’t deal with the team as a whole. Instead, talk to team members individually. Some people will need hand-holding while others hate it. Some team members respond to a strong push in the right direction and others go into a mild depression if you’re too hard on them. It’s important that you know how to deal with each team member individually. You can do a project management training course to learn how to deal with different types of personalities you can find when working in a team. This course will also teach you about team management.

Being a project manager is quite a big role and you should be ready for what’s coming. And it all starts with getting your team ready. Together with your team, you should set goals in order to reach your full potential and make a success of the project.